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Two Punjab Congress leaders join BJP

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NEW DELHI, April 20: Two Punjab Congress leaders, including its national secretary Tajinder Pal Singh Bittu, joined the BJP here on Saturday as the ruling party at the Centre bolsters its ranks in the state ahead of the Lok Sabha polls there.

Bittu announced his resignation from the Congress hours before joining the BJP.

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He and Karamjit Kaur Chaudhary, the wife of late Congress veteran Santokh Singh Chaudhary, joined the BJP in the presence of Union minister Ashwini Vaishnaw and its national general secretary Vinod Tawde.

Chaudhary had last year unsuccessfully contested the Lok Sabha bypoll in Jalandhar following the death of her husband, who was the sitting MP.

At a press conference, Tawde said their induction into the BJP will boost the party, especially in Punjab where the polls are scheduled for June 1.

Bittu told reporters that he had been feeling “suffocated” in the Congress after being with the party for over 35 years.

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“Three-four power centres work in the Congress and all of them seek to function independently without having any coordination,” he claimed.

Tawde also targeted the Congress over the murder of a girl by a man on a college campus in Karnataka’s Hubli and alleged that its government in the state does not seem to be taking appropriate action as it is protecting its vote bank and not women.

The victim, Neha Hiremath, daughter of a Congress councillor, was allegedly stabbed to death by Fayaz Khondunaikin, who was subsequently arrested.

Local BJP leaders have called it a case of “love jihad”, a claim dismissed by the Congress.

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Tawde said a similar attitude was displayed by the TMC government in West Bengal over the Sandeshkhali issue as it allegedly worked to protect the accused Shajahan Sheikh and not the women who were victims.

Crime and criminals have no religion and culprits should be dealt with stringently, the BJP leader added. (PTI)





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